My time in North Carolina has lived out these sayings that I have grown up hearing. But, even now, it’s amazing how when these words apply to my life, I hear them with brand new ears.
The way that Anna L has lived her life is a testimony to all of these slogans, and I am thankful to have been able to hear her story, spend time with her and work for Girls at Play.
Anna is a great example that through hard work, dedication and determination, you can make your dreams and goals come true. Ten years ago, she saw that there was an opportunity to create a supportive community for women on the water and she made it happen, marking the beginning of Girls at Play. Before that, she wanted to “get good” at kayaking, and she became a world class freestyle kayaker, was on tour with Dagger for years, and paddled steep creeks and big rivers all around the world. Before that, she was a college student, working in the kitchen at a raft company- with a goal to learn how to kayak and become a raft guide.
Hearing Anna’s story and how hard she works- from the past to the present, reminds me to continue to dream big. The bigger I dream, the harder I will work to strive towards my goals. Whether that’s in daily life, my career, or kayaking.
There will be hard days, and I think I got a glimpse of a few since I’ve been out here. Over the last two months, I got a black eye from my paddle while running Oceana on the Tallulah, got stitches a few weeks later while on one of my first runs down the Green, and I just broke my nose while sending a really bad line off of Gorilla. I’m taking all of my injuries as a sign that a full-face helmet is definitely on the radar… and that I have been pushing myself for two months straight, my body might be ready for a little break. But, the thing is, I have been learning and growing and craving to push myself. Sometimes, when we’re living life on the edge, we might fall off… and like humpty dumpty, we just have to be put back together again.
Another thing that Anna has taught me is that following your passion pays in ways that money cannot. I have learned so many life lessons (and continue to learn) through kayaking, I would not be the same person I am today without it. It is a rewarding feeling in ways that words can’t describe to be able to take women out, see them be empowered, feel their excitement, witness their joy on the water, and guide them through light-bulb moments (ah-ha’s!).
All of these are great reminders for me, especially as I am closing the under-grad chapter in my life, and beginning the “life after college” chapter. I will carry the lessons that I have learned here, for years to come. No matter where I might find myself, I want to continue to live my dream, follow my passion, reach for the stars… and try, and try again.
If you or someone you know is interested in interning or working for Girls at Play please contact us!